This is one of the suspects involved in the high-speed chase Thursday afternoon from Lebanon to Mt. Juliet.
TOMI L. WILEY / Special to The Wilson PostBy TOMI L. WILEYSpecial to The Wilson Post
MT. JULIET -- Combined efforts of multi-jurisdiction law enforcement resulted in two men in custody for Federal theft charges after a high-speed, “dangerous” chase originating in Lebanon and ending with a crash in Mt. Juliet.
Mt. Juliet Police Chief Andy Garrett said late Thursday afternoon that the pursuit began in Lebanon with two Hispanic men under investigation for felony theft charges. He said the men spotted police and left the scene – what he could only describe as a truck stop in Lebanon – in a van at a “high rate of speed.” Lebanon Police gave chase, but due to the “erratic driving and speed” LPD officers called off the pursuit west on I-40.
“The citizens of Lebanon and Wilson County were in too much danger,” Garrett said.
In a short time, the chief continued, Tennessee Highway Patrol picked up the pursuit. The driver of the van left I-40 at the Highway 109 exit and turned north. Wilson County Sheriff’s Department deputies deployed spike strips on Hwy. 109 near Lebanon Road, Garrett said, where Mt. Juliet Police picked up the chase as the van entered their jurisdiction.
“Our guys followed the van down Lebanon Road, and the van’s tires were going flat,” Garrett said. He added that the driver continued to drive erratically at a high rate of speed until he attempted to turn south onto Mt. Juliet Road from Lebanon Road. The driver lost control of the van as he tried to make the turn and crashed the vehicle in the BP gas station parking lot on the corner of Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Roads.
This is the van the two suspects were in and abandoned after a high-speed chase from Lebanon to Mt. Juliet Thursday.
TOMI L. WILEY / Special to The Wilson PostGarrett said the driver of the vehicle ran, and the second officer on the scene, MJPD Field Training Officer Scott Fulton, caught him. The passenger also ran, Garrett said, and MJPD Cpl. Allen Carver chased the passenger on foot behind F & M Bank on North Mt. Juliet Road, where he was caught. Both driver and passenger were taken into custody. Garrett said no one was hurt.
The chief added that the two suspects will face felony theft charges in Lebanon as well as speeding and felony evading arrest charges in Mt. Juliet, along with other possible Federal charges he could not disclose at the time. Garrett could not comment further or give more details due to the ongoing Federal investigation.
Editor’s Note: Tomi L. Wiley is the editor of The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet.